Madera County Historical Society
The community in the vicinity of Grub Gulch was terrorized 100 years ago by a pair of men who raped one woman and attempted an outrage on another. In the latter case the perpetrator was driven off with wire cutters.
100 years ago
Week of Nov. 19, 1917
“RAWHIDE LAURA” IS ARRESTED — Laura Lance, better known in this vicinity as “Rawhide Laura,” is at the local jail on a charge of insanity. For some weeks past, Laura has been at the county hospital and during the past few days has exhibited more signs of insanity. For several days she has been giving imaginary electrical treatments to some of the inmates of the hospital and also talking loudly and doing other things of a crazy fashion. She also gets familiar with the nurse now and then and slaps her on the back according to the complaints of Steward Will Metcalf. The Lance woman was brought to the local jail this morning and will be examined on the charge of insanity as soon as a judge can be gotten here from Fresno.
DASTARDLY CRIME IS COMMITTED — One of the most dastardly and fiendish crimes that has ever been committed in this county occurred Friday night. A woman by the name of Mrs. Eldridge, who is residing between Coarse Gold and Fresno Flats, was assaulted by two fiends who broke into her home and forcibly outraged the woman. She was awakened during the night and got out of bed. While still in her nightclothes, she was grabbed by one of the two men. She screamed, but there was no one within calling distance. She was forced to submit to the outrage and was handled so roughly that she fainted. When she came to, the men were gone. As soon as the crime was reported, Undersheriff Clarence Osborn left for the hills in pursuit of the fiends.
GARBAGE MAN HAS CLOSE CALL — The garbage wagon being driven by G. Bottini had a narrow escape from being knocked into kingdom come this morning, and the engine of Train No. 49 likewise escaped being badly bespattered with garbage of all description. Bottini was crossing the tracks at Sixth Street when he saw the train. Instead of proceeding across the tracks, he turned his team down the track toward the depot and applied the whip. It was a lively race but with the speed of the team and the slowing up of the train, the seemingly inevitable crash was averted. The train was brought to a halt just before the engine reached the garbage wagon. If there ever was a frightened Italian, it was Bottini as he drove away from in front of the locomotive, glad that he had been spared.
BIG LION BAGGED IN HILLS — J.D. Graham and wife, who had been at Cole’s store and were returning to their home in Nippinawasse last evening, were suddenly confronted by a huge lion which appeared in the road just ahead of their team. The horses were badly frightened and it was with difficulty that a runaway was averted. The lion showed fight at first and might have attacked the horses had it not been for the excitement that followed. Mr. Graham grabbed his gun, and with the assistance of Ed Langdon and his dog tracked the lion a mile and a half until they finally spied it in a tree. It required nine shots to bring it to the ground, and after it fell, it ran for nearly two hundred feet before it dropped. The lion measured 7 feet from tip to tip.
ANOTHER ASSAULT ATTEMPTED IN HILLS — Another fiendish assault in the hills of this county was attempted about 8 o’clock last night, and it is believed that the party is one of the same brutes in human flesh who assaulted the Elridge woman only a few nights ago near Oakhurst. The attempted crime was committed this time upon a young woman named Smith who resides near Poison Switch between Oakhurst and Grub Gulch. While he vainly attempted to accomplish his purposes, he was beaten off by the plucky little woman who happened to be armed with a pair of wire cutters. Before morning, Sheriff Lewis, armed with a good description of the man, was hot on his trail.
WHY CUT THEM TO PIECES? — No little amount of indignation was expressed here today when it was learned that frequently the bodies of persons who die at the state asylum at Stockton are cut to pieces by students who are hunting for information. A case just came to light of a young woman who died in the hospital and her remains were shipped here to be interred. It was quite a shock to the local undertaker to find that the remains had been mutilated with the knife of some student in the search of knowledge. The idea of dissecting the remains of those who die and leave no relatives may be all right, but it would be better not to perform such deeds upon the remains of a person who has sorrowing relatives. According to the local undertaker, when a body is dissected in this way, it is impossible to embalm it.
NO MORE FOREIGN TEACHERS — United States District Judge Neterer filed a decision today holding that a school teacher is not a member of a recognized learned profession, and if a foreigner, may be excluded from this country under immigration laws. According to federal authorities here, the decision will have a sweeping effect on the practice of importing teachers from foreign countries for employment in American schools. Many such teachers have been brought to the United States to teach foreign language to native born American children of foreign parentage. Judge Neterer’s decision was rendered in the case of Kikuyi Inouye, a Japanese school teacher who came to the United States to teach in a Japanese school in Guadalupe, California.
COMPLAINT LODGED AGAINST MacGOWAN — Following the discovery of several more shortages at the Rosenthal-Kutner store through the defalcations of Lyle MacGowan, formerly the bookkeeper of the store, a charge of embezzlement was lodged against him this afternoon. MacGowan was subjected to a severe examination. He continued to admit his guilt and pointed out the various items that he had juggled and appropriated the money to his own use. He showed where he had taken money to the amount of $134.80. The first misappropriation was on the 17th of August, and the criminal acts continued almost daily from that time until now.
LOCAL TAILOR SHOOTS AND KILLS COUNTRYMAN — As the result of a growing hatred between two men over a woman, Jesus Naranjo, a Mexican who has been employed for some time at the Madera Sugar Pine Mill, is lying on a table at the morgue of R.C. Jay & Son, and Hilarion Flores, the well known local tailor whose shop is located on North D Street, is in the custody of Sheriff J.F. Lewis. Flores is charged with shooting Naranjo at the lodging house of Mrs. G. Coppallotti at 700 Vineyard Avenue just outside the city limits. From all accounts it was a deliberate murder on the part of Flores and occurred shortly past 7 o’clock Sunday evening. Naranjo has no family. Flores has a family consisting of a wife and four small children.
HAS STEPFATHER ARRESTED — Eddie Welch, the son of Mrs. H. Miller, swore to a warrant last night charging his stepfather, H. Miller, with battery. The trouble began last night following Miller’s return home slightly under the influence of liquor. Young Welch had come to Madera from Fresno to visit his mother and when his stepfather came home and found him to be there, he began to abuse his wife. The stepson came forth like a ghost in the dark, and blows followed. The two fought for a few minutes, and Marshal Barnett was called. Miller is said to be very troublesome and abusive when under the influence of liquor, and Eddie Welch always takes his mother’s part when she and her husband quarrel, which does not set well with the husband.